2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Shows Sentiment Toward Consumer Brands Improving for Second Straight Year

Harris Poll EquiTrend® identifies 46 "Brand of the Year" categories; Value Merchandisers, Video Game Systems, and Sweet Treat brands maintain highest brand equity; Financial Services category shows wide gap among brand perception

Mar 16, 2011, 12:39 ET from Harris Interactive

NEW YORK, March 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Brands that give us comfort and provide value are driving an overall improvement in consumer sentiment according to the 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® study conducted by Harris Interactive. Target Stores, Nintendo and M&Ms Plain Chocolate Candy were each highest ranked in their respective category. The 2011 Harris Poll EquiTrend® Brand of the Year was awarded to the highest ranked brand in each of 46 categories.

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Overall, consumer sentiment toward brands increased for the second straight year after falling in 2009. While the Sweet Treat category boasts several top brands, the Financial Services category shows a wide gap between brands that have maintained or improved their brand equity and those brands that consumers still hold responsible for the country's financial collapse. Visa and USAA are two financial service brands which consumers still hold in high regard.  The Harris Poll EquiTrend® study measures consumer brands within 46 different categories.  Brand Equity ratings are driven by three factors: Familiarity, Quality and Purchase Consideration.

"As consumers continue to look for ways to reduce their budgets, having a brand that consumers trust and respect plays a large role in keeping consumers loyal," said Jeni Lee Chapman, Executive Vice President for Brand Research at Harris Interactive. "Consumers continue to be more selective about what they purchase, but those companies with high brand equity are able to avoid switching behaviors of those brands that lack brand equity."  

Category Overview

  • Automotive: Ford vehicles rank highest among full-line automotive brands, Toyota falls to 4th; Mercedes-Benz is the highest ranked luxury automotive brand;
  • Airlines: Southwest ranks highest among airlines followed by Jet Blue.  A newcomer to the study, Hawaiian Airlines rounds out the top three;
  • Beer: Blue Moon is the highest ranked beer brand followed by Samuel Adams, with Guinness Stout at third;
  • Retail Banks: New to EquiTrend® is BBVA which ranks highest among banks.  Huntington Bank followed by TD Bank round out the top three;
  • Hotels: The Hilton brand enjoys highest rankings in two categories ; full service hotels with Hilton Hotels and Resorts and extended stay hotel with Homewood Suites by Hilton;
  • Financial Services: The Principal is the highest ranked investment services brand followed by TIAA-CREF and Fidelity; USAA is the highest ranked insurance brand followed by State Farm and Conseco. Visa is the highest ranked payment cards brand followed by MasterCard;
  • Restaurants: Panera Bread ranks highest among casual restaurants, with Carrabba's in second after big brand equity gains; Olive Garden falls to third. Subway is the highest ranked quick service restaurant followed by Dairy Queen;
  • Telecom: Verizon is the highest ranked mobile network followed by AT&T and Clearwire; Motorola was the highest ranked mobile phone brand; and
  • Non-Profits:  Best Friends Animal Society is highest ranked among the non-profits followed by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Shriners Hospitals for Children and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Harris Poll EquiTrend® Brands of the Year


Brand of the Year


Southwest Airlines

Amusement Attractions

Disney World

Appliance - Major Appliance

KitchenAid Major Appliances

Appliance - Small Kitchen appliance

KitchenAid Small Appliances

Athletic Footwear

New Balance Athletic Footwear

Automotive Service Centers


Automotive Tires

Michelin Automobile Tires

Automotive, Full Line

Ford Vehicles

Automotive, Luxury

Mercedes-Benz Vehicles


Blue Moon

Car Rentals

Enterprise Rent-A-Car

Carbonated Beverage


Computer Brand

Hewlett-Packard (HP)

Consumer Electronics



Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Cruise Lines

Norwegian Cruise Line

Game System

Nintendo Video Game Systems (Wii, DS series)

Gasoline Retail

Speedway Gasoline

Greeting Cards

Hallmark Greeting Cards

Health Insurance

Blue Cross Blue Shield


Red Roof Inns

Hotel-Extended Stay

Homewood Suites by Hilton

Hotel-Full Service

Hilton Hotels and Resorts


Omni Hotels & Resorts

Hotel-Mid Market

Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts


USAA Financial Services


Principal Financial

Laundry Detergent

Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent


National Geographic Magazine


Brand of the Year

Media Television-Kids TV


Media Television-Topical interest

Discovery Channel

Media Television-TV News

The Weather Channel

Media Television-Variety TV Programming

USA Network

Mobile Network


Mobile Phone


Motor Oil

Pennzoil Motor Oil


Harley Davidson Motorcycles

Movie Studio

DreamWorks Movie Studio

News service 

Associated Press (AP)


Best Friends Animal Society

Online University

Nova SouthEastern University

OTC antacids

Imodium Anti-Diarrhea Medication (J&J)



Payment Cards



Johnson & Johnson Healthcare

Power Tool

Craftsman Tools

Restaurants - Casual Dining

Panera Bread

Restaurants Quick Service (including Pizza)

Subway Restaurants

Retail Banks

BBVA Compass Bank

Sweet Treat

M&M Plain Chocolate Candy




Crest Toothpaste

Value Retailer

Target Stores


Aquafina Water


The EquiTrend® study evaluates measures including: Equity, Consumer Connection, Commitment, Brand Behavior, Brand Advocacy, and Trust. The keystone to the program is Equity, which provides an understanding of a brand's overall strength and is determined by a calculation of Familiarity, Quality, and Purchase Consideration.

This year's Harris Poll EquiTrend® study was conducted online among 25,099 U.S. consumers ages 15 and over between January 11 and 27, 2011. A total of brands 1,273 were rated in 53 separate categories.  Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 60 randomly selected brands.  Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire U.S. population of consumers ages 15 and over on the basis of age sex, education, race/ethnicity, region, and income, and data from respondents ages 18 and over were also weighted for their propensity to be online.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The EquiTrend® study results disclosed in this release may not be used for advertising, marketing or promotional purposes without the prior written consent of Harris Interactive.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

For a complete listing of all the brands covered in the study, contact Dagney Cassella at 212-539-9600 or dcassella@harrisinteractive.com.  

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

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Harris Interactive



SOURCE Harris Interactive